Wednesday, May 23rd
The Anaheim Ducks signed 29-year-old Swedish goaltender Viktor Fasth to a one-year one-way deal speculating that he will backup Jonas Hiller. That would mean that Jeff Deslauriers also with a one-way contract could be on the move and Dan Ellis (UFA) will not be resigned. Not overly big, Fasth is a butterfly goaltender that relies on his quick reflexes to stop pucks. He was name the Elitserien Top Goaltender in 2011-12.
The CHL Mastercard Memorial Cup continues to roll on as it enters it’s last night of round robin play tonight (Wednesday) with the hosts Shawinigan Cataractes facing off against the Saint John SeaDogs. The London Knights are 2-1, Edmonton Oil Kings 1-2 and both Quebec league teams sport a 1-1 record.
Predators’ Austin Watson has continued his marvelous play from the OHL Playoffs, where he won the Playoff MVP honours, as he impresses with his complete game. He has really shown his versatility and his ability to block shots has been simply outstanding. His upside may be limited (3rd line/tweener) but he brings all the skills needed to win championships. He’s a player that we will see in the NHL sooner than later.
Leafs’ prospect Gregg McKegg scored his first goal since April 11th in last night’s Knights win.
Two-time undrafted forward Seth Griffith just continues to prove doubters wrong. Undersized slightly, Griffith offers much more than just offensive prowess. He was the Knights’ regular season goals AND points leader yet he was still left off CSB’s ranking of North American players. It’s a shame. If I were selecting for a NHL Team at the June Draft I would consider taking him as early as mid-third/early-fourth round. Even if he misses as a top-six player, you still have a quality versatile bottom-six forward. Oh, Griffith has 3 points in 3 games in the Memorial Cup.
One player to watch for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft (next year) is obviously Max Domi, son of former Maple Leafs’ agitator Tie, but his teammate Bo Horvat is more interesting to me. I was able to watch both Domi and Horvat at the World U17 Championships in Windsor this past winter and he was one of the best players in the tournament.
Besides his slick creative scoring touch, Horvat was one of the best defensive forwards I have seen at that age. He’s a leader in every sense of the word and I don’t recall him losing a faceoff in that tournament. Look for his production to increase exponentially in London as some of the veteran players move on and he takes on more responsibility. I’m predicting his draft stock to rise big time next year.
Coyotes’ defensive prospect Brandon Gormley had a strong game for Shawinigan Sunday night in their 6-2 win over London scoring 2 goals and an assist. He has four points in the tournament and leads all defenseman.
Wild forward Charlie Coyle continues his strong play for the Saint John SeaDogs after coming over from college mid season. He has recorded 3 assists through two games but is contributing in all three zones as well. He’s ready for the next step and at least should be in the AHL next season.
One standout player I have been very impressed with is former Flyers’ pick Michael Chaput of Shawinigan. Chaput was traded to Columbus (ewwwww) for Tom Sesito at the 2011 NHL trade deadline. He’s leading the Memorial Cup in scoring with 3 goals and 5 points through two games and has been an offensive catalyst. He owns good size at 6’2” and really thrives when the puck is on his stick. Keep tabs on him as his trending in the right direction.
Oil Kings’ 2012 draft eligible forward Henrik Samuelsson has received mixed reviews all season long as scouts try to get a grasp on his potential. He’s turned it on at the right time showing scouts a nice range of skills at the perfect time. He has tallied 1 goal, 4 points through 3 games.
The son of Ulf Samuelsson has received first round chatter but it’s looking that he might be picked somewhere in the opening for spots of the second round. If the Oilers somehow end up trading down for a defenseman with their first round pick, Samuelsson would add some nice grit and skill to their lineup with their 2nd round pick.
I don’t expect the Oilers’ to trade that 1st overall pick unless their socks get completely knocked off.
I have a hunch that Jonathan Huberdeau is nursing an injury as he wasn’t himself during the QMJHL playoffs. He’s been the leader for the SeaDogs in the Memorial Cup with 3 points but he is becoming agitated very easily and, for me, that shows frustration in his game.
Marlies’ Nazem Kadri